Before it spirals out of control, Palmerton Area School District hopes to nip any and all dress code issues in the bud.

To that end, a meeting of the school board's Policy Committee will be open to the public at 5:30 p.m. Thursday for anyone with concerns.

The dress code policy - long a source of controversy - implemented several changes that went into effect at the start of the school year.

Several students and parents - many of whom brought samples of their clothing along - expressed their frustration with the policy at last week's school board meeting.

Due to the sheer volume of concerns with the policy, board President Barry Scherer encouraged anyone with questions to bring along any garments they aren't sure of.

Contacted this morning, Superintendent Carol Boyce told the TIMES NEWS the purpose of the public forum is to clear up any confusion with the policy.

"We hope to clarify anything that is vague or misleading in the dress policy so that everyone - families, kids, and staff - get back to the main reason that we're here, and that's education," Boyce said. "I asked yesterday how many kids were seen at the high school, and I think the number was between six to eight; that is down from what it has been, but I think we all feel that clarification will be a very good thing."

Boyce said "I think all of us knew there would be some issues" with the dress code.

"I think anytime that limitations or definition is put to, especially clothing, which is one of the ways that young people express themselves; I think that leads to some difficulties," she said. "We, in the field of education, are held accountable and expected by the business world to get our youngsters ready for the world of business."

Boyce said there's a fine line between what students would like to wear and what is deemed acceptable as per the policy.

"The other feeling, which is somewhat a pushback, is that students, and sometimes their families, say, 'let kids be kids', and sometimes that creates some friction, and I think that's very likely some of what is happening here," she said. "It's certainly my hope that on Thursday, we can address some of those issues and come to some resolution for everybody's benefit."

The dress code policy may be viewed on the district's web site, www.palmerton.org [1].